IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Trump, co-defendants ask appeals court to consider booting DA Fani Willis from Georgia case

Attorneys for Trump and others in the case on Friday officially asked the Georgia Court of Appeals to hear their arguments.
Fani Willis
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis at a hearing in Atlanta on March 1.Alex Slitz / AP file

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump and eight of his co-defendants in the Georgia election interference case on Friday asked a state appeals court to allow them to challenge a recent ruling that didn't disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from prosecuting the case.

“The Georgia Court of Appeals should grant the application and accept the interlocutory appeal for consideration on the merits,” Steve Sadow, Trump’s lead attorney in Georgia, told NBC News in a statement Friday.

Willis’ office declined NBC News' request for comment.

The application comes after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee gave Trump and the others permission to seek a review from the Georgia Court of Appeals of McAfee's decision not to disqualify Willis and her office and dismiss the charges in the sprawling racketeering case.

In a motion originally filed by Trump co-defendant Michael Roman, and later adopted by Trump and others, Willis is accused of financially benefiting from a personal relationship she had with Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor she’d appointed to the case. The motion alleged Willis and Wade took vacations together while working on the case.

Willis and Wade denied any wrongdoing. They acknowledged they'd been in a relationship, but they maintained that it began after his appointment as special prosecutor and that Willis did not benefit financially.

In a decision earlier this month, McAfee found no conflict of interest but said because of an “appearance of impropriety,” either Willis and her office would have to step aside, or Wade.

Wade resigned shortly after McAfee's ruling — but, Sadow noted, the defense wanted the order to go further.

“Defendants argues in the trial court that the indictment should have been dismissed and, at a minimum, DA Willis and her office should have been disqualified from prosecuting the case,” Sadow's statement said.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case, which alleges he conspired with others to overturn the 2020 election results in the state.

With the request officially filed, the appeals court has 45 days to decide whether to take up the case. McAfee has said he will not halt proceedings in the Georgia case as the disqualification matter makes its way through the appeals court.